Connecting the Dots: Rob Verchick and Laurie Ristino Talk Food Security and Climate Change

Center for Progressive Reform (CPR) President Rob Verchick recently sat down to talk with me about the connections between climate change, food security, and policymaking tools like the Farm Bill that could be better used to promote sustainable agricultural practices. I’m excited to share an audio recording of that conversation as CPR prepares to “soft launch” their new “Connect the Dots” podcast. It’s a…

Continue Reading

Improving Soil Health Through Crop Insurance

One marker bill currently before the House Agriculture Committee, the Crop Insurance Modernization Act, proposes some of the same reforms to crop insurance as FBLE’s report on Productivity and Risk Management. One of its proposals involves strengthening incentives in crop insurance contracts for farmers to integrate better conservation practices into their regular operations. The bill, also known as H.R. 4865,…

Continue Reading

House Leadership Releases Draft 2018 Farm Bill

Earlier today, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX) released the text of the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018. In the coming days and weeks, FBLE will provide analysis of how the draft bill stacks up against the recommendations of our recent reports. In the meantime, you can read the Chairman’s highlights and critiques from leading sustainable agriculture, anti-poverty, and anti-hunger…

Continue Reading

Coupling Up: Are Crop Insurance and Conservation Compliance Mated for Life?

This is the final installment of a three-part series devoted to conservation compliance under the farm bill. The first post explained what “conservation compliance” is and why it matters, and the second post highlighted how lack of enforcement undercuts effective protection for soil and water resources. Rounding out the series, this post explains why maintaining the link (or “coupling”) between…

Continue Reading

FBLE Releases Reports with Recommendations for the Next Farm Bill

Three reports out today from the Farm Bill Law Enterprise (FBLE) apply a justice lens to the farm bill debate underway on Capitol Hill. FBLE’s reports coincide with the imminent release of draft farm bills in the House and Senate, which Congressional observers anticipate next month. The reports are the product of a novel partnership between eight law school programs:…

Continue Reading

Harvest Boxes Are a Dangerous Distraction

When the Trump administration released its FY2019 budget, which included a  plan to overhaul the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), outrage ensued. The proposal would replace half of SNAP recipients’ EBT benefits with cheap, non-perishable commodity provisions. Neither Democrats nor Republicans in Congress expressed support for America’s Harvest Box. Critics attacked the proposal as mean-spirited, infeasible, unhealthy, and bad for…

Continue Reading

For Conservation Compliance, Weak Enforcement is a Loss for Taxpayers and the Environment

This is the second in a three-part series devoted to conservation compliance. The first post introduced the conservation compliance sections of the farm bill and explained why they are critical to soil and water quality. This post explains how USDA’s implementation of conservation compliance lacks effective enforcement and transparency. Conservation Requirements Under conservation compliance farmers whose land includes highly erodible…

Continue Reading

Conservation Compliance: The Linchpin of Soil Health and Water Quality

This is the first of a three-part series devoted to farm bill conservation compliance, the foundation of soil and water protection on the majority of land in the United States. Annually, soil erosion caused by agricultural practices costs the United States approximately $44 billion and a loss of 1% of our topsoil. Agricultural nonpoint source pollution (e.g. fertilizer runoff) is…

Continue Reading

In Defense of SNAP

SNAP is already the nation’s “most effective” economic stimulus program. The political battle over the 2018 Farm Bill is already well underway and—if rhetoric from the Trump Administration is any indication—it won’t be an easy fight.  Threatening to gut $192 billion from SNAP over the next decade, the White House is proposing an unrecognizable overhaul of a program that services…

Continue Reading